Cuban Kestrel
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Cuban Kestrel

Cuban kestrel
Temporal range: Late Quaternary
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
Species:
F. kurochkini
Binomial name
Falco kurochkini
Suarez & Olson, 2001

The Cuban kestrel (Falco kurochkini) was a species of small falcon in the family Falconidae that was formerly endemic to the island of Cuba. It was described from fossil remains from late Quaternary deposits from several sites throughout the island.[1]

It was intermediate in size between two extant species of falcon known from Cuba, the American kestrel (F. sparverius) and the merlin (F. columbarius). The species' most distinctive trait is its very long legs, possibly the longest of any species in the genus Falco.[2] With these traits, F. kurochkini was likely a terrestrial bird of open areas, chasing prey on foot not unlike a small caracara. Due to the lack of mammalian predators aside from small insectivores, it also likely nested on the ground or in crevices.[1]

Fossil evidence indicates that F. kurochkini was sympatric with the endemic Cuban subspecies of American kestrel (F. sparverius sparverioides), which remains extant today. Unlike its close relative, F. kurochkini likely went extinct due to its terrestrial habits, which made it vulnerable to fires set by Paleo-Indians as well as invasive species introduced by Europeans.[1] It may have become extinct as late as the 17th century, following European colonization of the area.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c William Suárez Duque; Storrs L. Olson (2001). "A Remarkable New Species of Small Falcon from the Quaternary of Cuba (Aves: Falconidae: Falco)" (PDF). Russian Journal of Ornithology, Express-issue. 135: 199-201. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-08. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b Hume, Julian P. (2017). Extinct Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1472937445.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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